The Power of Drink
It appears that some gays have got their knickers in a twist, and rightly so.
London gay community joins boycott of Russian vodka
Popular London gay bars and nightclubs have decided to boycott Russian vodka brands, joining a global campaign launched by North American gay activists in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia.
The organisers accuse the Russian authorities of an increasingly aggressive stance towards sexual minorities.
They are angry about a controversial law signed by President Vladimir Putin banning the promotion of “non-traditional values” to children, the refusal to allow gay pride events and harassment of gay activists.
Many conservative Russians suspect gay rights campaigners of trying to undermine traditional family values.
The purpose of the vodka boycott is clear: to harm the image of a product that has become a national brand, symbolising Russia.
Some activists suggest going further by boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics, due to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
The SPI Group behind the most famous vodka brand in the West – Stolichnaya – has declared its firm support for the LGBT community.
Russian Standard – another popular vodka brand in the UK – declined to comment.
‘How can it get any worse?’
The vodka boycott campaign was launched by US writer and activist Dan Savage.
He wrote in his blog that gay bars in Seattle should “dump Stoli… to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin’s increasingly fascistic Russia”.
Savage’s initiative generated a swift response in the US and Canada, and then on the other side of the Atlantic.